Escaping the dreary British winter by fleeing to sunnier climes for a while was intended to help with my Parkinson’s symptoms, that always seem worse in the winter. It’s been a balance between chasing the sun and trying to mitigate the worst bits of travelling and I have written about the travel strategy in another post. I have also written about the challenge of snorkeling. So what else have I learned?
- The Sun – We all love it and as long as we are cautious of its potentially harmful rays a good dose of sunshine must do everyone good. I asked for a Vitamin D level check and being on the low side have been taking a low dose supplement for some time. But sitting in the sun for a short while just makes me feel so much better. I feel like a rechargeable battery just absorbing energy or maybe more like a lizard raising my body temperature. Is the science behind it light or other solar radiation, vitamin D, body temperature, straightforward relaxation, who knows? There is certainly something in it and I’m happy to volunteer for any research project that involves sitting in a beautiful spot like the garden of our Air B’n’B above.
- Fatigue – I do sometimes experience real fatigue and find walking longish distances or up even gentle inclines hard at times. I use the well worn phrase “like wading through treacle” because it describes so well how it feels. I can put one foot in front of the other to walk, but I so don’t want to. While we’ve been away I have walked far more than I normally do and even managed the ridiculously steep hills of San Francisco. I thought we were used to hills in Wales but maybe it’s the American passion for laying out cities on grids that means streets take the shortest route to the top, making them extremely steep. However, I think it must be the motivation to reach whatever lies at the top of the hill that makes the difference. A view from the Coit Tower across the whole of San Francisco Bay has to be more motivating than walking to do some food shopping. Note to self (and partner) – Motivation is so important in PD we need to find artificial ways of introducing it into life.
- Routine – I find that following a fairly regular routine helps in managing PD. It’s a route to successful management that has its dangers. I can so easily get fearful of disturbing that routine that I self limit what I can do, a potentially downward spiral. A big event like a holiday helps to identify those bits of the routine that are important and those less so. Its also a good reminder of what you can still do to counterbalance those that you can’t.
Take home messages – sadly we all have to go home and for us that is tomorrow 😦
Go on holiday – its good for you.
Take a bit of time over arrangements – you can get extra help at airports
Find what motivates you to do more
I am fortunate I know, I have my wonderful partner Phil to help and support me. We’ve had a fantastic time together. Do you fancy Africa next winter?